Monthly Archives: June 2014

Why I Almost Went Back to Mint 13

I love Mint 17, I really do, but there is a problem that was bad enough to almost force me to reinstall Mint 13 in place of 17.

One of the primary things I use my bedroom computer for, is dubbing off thousands of old reel to reel audio tapes in my collection. Most of the tapes are old air checks from my radio days, as well as commercials I did, and special programs that I was a part of.

The tool I use for that is Audacity. Under Ubuntu 14.04, Audacity has removed the ability to interface it with ffmpeg. I use ffmpeg extensively in my recording process. Poking around the Ubuntu forums, I found that I could get that functionality back if I recompiled Audacity myself, including the libraries for an older version of ffmpeg.

So, I went through the listed steps, and indeed, I could now use Audacity with ffmpeg, but when I would import anything, the audio quality was complete crap, and then Audacity would freeze. Yes I used the proper codec settings, the same ones I have always used, but nothing would import.

Taking a deep breath, and not really being up to the task of reinstalling Mint 13, I uninstalled my version of Audacity, reinstalled the package from the repositories, and am now using an external ffmpeg GUI called WinFF. It means an extra step, but at least it works.

Audacity is aware of the problem, and are planning to repair it, I just hope it’s soon!



Farm Chores

Been a week too busy for playing with computers. Our tractor broke on Wednesday, and we’ve been making repairs ever since! Back Monday with more Linux fun.

Linux Mint 17 – Part 2

After our first success, it was time to upgrade the next computer. The machine I use in my bedroom, runs Mint, as well as Windows 2000, required for a very expensive CNC machine that I also use it for.

Linux Mint 17 -

Linux Mint 17 –

Not having, or needing a CD/DVD drive in this computer, I did the install from a USB thumb drive. All was going well until the thumb drive started throwing read errors 1/2 way through the install.

The read errors caused the installer to abort. with a 500 gig drive half formated and now dead.

A run to the local grocery store, and a couple of 2 gig thumb drives purchased, I started the process over.

After booting to the thumb drive, I was able to use GParted to do a repartition and format of the target drive, and then install Mint with no further problems.

A couple of irritations remain however:

I use VNC from machine to machine on an almost constant basis. Installing my favorite VNC client, Remmina, finds that it only supported SSH out of the box. You need to then further install the VNC plugin for it to work with the VNC protocol.

Next, my lone Windows 7 computer using TightVNC, can no longer connect to any of my Mint 17 machines. I get an error that TightVNC doesn’t support the Vino server security protocol anymore.

I found a quick fix for the VNC from Windows problem, it’s not ideal, as it involves turning off encryption on the Linux Vino server. This will have to do until Windows VNC clients catch up with current security protocols.

You can do this with the Terminal command:

gsettings set org.gnome.Vino require-encryption false

The last problem I had, was then when I did the restore from backup, several of the folders that I restored did not revert to the proper permissions. This required changing them manually using Sudo.

Linux Mint 17 – It’s A Keeper!

After playing with the live DVD distribution, I decided it was time to actually reformat and install Linux Mint 17 permanently.

Linux Mint 17, with the MATE desktop - courtesy of

Linux Mint 17, with the MATE desktop – courtesy of

Liking the clean, uncomplicated interface presented in the MATE desktop, I chose that version of the Mint 17 distribution.

Because it’s on a machine that is dual boot with Windows 7 (which is needed but rarely used anymore) I first booted into Windows, and restored the Master Boot Record to its default setting, using the FixMBR.exe utility. Next, using the Windows disk manager, I deleted the Linux main and swap partitions from the hard drive.

Once that was done, it was a simple matter to boot to the DVD, and do the default install. Mint configured itself in the now free disk space, and then created the new master boot record, booting first into Grub, so I can select which system I want to use.

The first thing that caught my eye after everything was installed, was a new icon on the panel bar. Hovering over it, I found that Mint had detected my wireless keyboard and mouse, and was dutifully reporting the battery condition of both!

The user interface is much the same as Mint 13, with very subtle and welcome changes. I love the new look of the Caja file manager for instance. What’s really changed however, is the meat and potatoes of the operating system itself. Based on Ubuntu 14.o4, Linux Mint 17 has many hardware compatibility and stability upgrades that make it well worth your time upgrading to it.

Liking Mint 17 as much as I do, means that I have 7 more machines to upgrade!

New Linux Show

How To Linux, is a new Jupiter Broadcasting show that is a must see! Just starting out with Linux? It’s a wonderful resource! If you have a Roku, search your Channel Store for JupiterBroadcasting.